As much of the Internet already knows, on April 21, Google made another update to its ever-changing and evolving ranking algorithm. Many people had dubbed this update “Mobilegeddon,” expecting to see drastic changes in website traffic and Google rankings immediately after the update.
We’ll break it down into three parts: what it is, what we’ve observed and what you can do. In four minutes, you will be in-the-know on what decisions, if any, you need to make.
What Was This Update Supposed to Be?
Mobilegeddon – when Google began to decrease the rankings of non-mobile friendly sites on mobile search results. This means that website you visited on your phone the other day — you remember, right? The one where the text was small, you had to zoom in, and yet you still couldn’t click your way around the site? Well, those sites are supposed to be pushed down in mobile search results because they aren’t cell phone-friendly.
It makes sense. Mobile users benefit more from mobile search results. And to add to this mobile search results shift, Bing has announced that it too will roll out an updated mobile algorithm.
So, Was it Worth the Hype?
Maybe not. It has now been more than two weeks since the update, and looking at our own internal data, we have not seen any significant change in traffic for non-mobile friendly sites. Our findings also seem to align with some of those across the web.
There have been some pretty popular and well-known sites that have been significantly affected, while others not so much. Below are a few of the winners and losers thus far.
A few folks who got busted like Tom Brady…
- Reddit: Mobile ranking dropped by 27%
- NBC Sports: Mobile ranking dropped by 28%
- Walmart: Mobile ranking dropped by 31%
- British Airways: Some keywords that were ranking on page 1 before the update dropped to page 8, 9 and 10.
Some of the winners include:
- Washington Times: Mobile ranking increased by 21%
- Boost Mobile: Mobile ranking increased by 30%
By and large, though, the fallout has been rather undramatic. SEO Clarity has been tracking top 10 results for the top 50,000 keywords and, overall, not much has changed. MOZ found that the percentage of mobile-friendly sites showing on page 1 increase from ~70% to a whopping ~72.5%.
But this doesn’t mean things won’t pick up. Given the fact that it has affected some big players, we can only expect the changes to continue to trickle down. Some sites were able to slip by this time, but I don’t believe they will stay unaffected for long — and they need to realize they may not be so lucky next time.
To Update or Not To Update?
Update. You may be thinking you are in the clear given the fact that not all non-mobile friendly sites immediately disappeared into a black hole. However, updating to a mobile-friendly site is truly the best decision for your business.
You want to create an easy and enjoyable experience for your user. If a potential client visits your site from their phone and has difficulty navigating, they will most likely leave and visit another firm’s site, taking their case with them. And as we mentioned in a recent blog post, in the first quarter of 2015, 35% of visitors to law firm sites came from mobile devices. That’s more than a third of users whom you may be sending to another firm without even realizing it.
The first step you need to take is checking to see if you site is mobile-friendly. You can do this easily by typing in your URL here.
If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, below are a few things that you can do on your own.
One option is to purchase a templated website online. To save you time, I found one that was created with attorneys in mind — and it’s only $43. Although this is a quick fix, I would not recommend this as your end-all solution. Just as you treat each case with care and detail, you (or your website company) need to do the same with your site. Design and programming are essential to your mobile site. A quality site will truly get you further and higher (in Google) in the long run.
Additionally, here are few things you can do right now before actually switching to a mobile-friendly site. Keep in mind that these steps won’t earn you Google’s “Mobile-Friendly” badge, but they are steps towards the right direction toward optimizing user experience.
- Make images smaller. By reducing file size, you speed up load time.
- Re-work content so it is easier to read on a smaller screen. Think bullet points and headers.
- Consider bumping font size up to 14 pt to 15 pt for better legibility.
So go ahead — go check out if your site is mobile-friendly.
Yes? Congrats! You are off to a better start than many Fortune 500 companies!
No? First, start with the simple steps above, or talk to your website company and discuss your options.
Don’t have a website company and having some trouble with your marketing? Well, you’re in luck. Marketing, designing, programming and optimizing for mobile are some of our fortes, so give us a holler. We’ll be sure to get you back on track and to the top.
Thanks for reading, and if you have any comments, please post them below!
Year over year we have seen local clients have an increase of 10-30% on average for mobile use. Mobile is used by lower socioeconomic households more than ever before, because High-speed internet at home is a luxury item.
I hate when a site is not mobile friendly. I hate to say it, but I judge a company by it’s mobile site… Thank you for the insight Madeline!
This should be on everyone’s list I agree. I watch my own mobile use increase and I see it in my analytics too. That said, I probably need to get my site updated. One more thing for the list.